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La Liga: Week 37 Preview
The Spanish La Liga enters its 37th week this Sunday and things are still as tight as ever after Barcelona, Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid all managed victories last weekend. The La Liga heavyweights are separated by just a solitary point heading into the final two league matches of the season.
At the other end of the table, Levante's relegation from La Liga was confirmed on Monday after a late collapse saw them lose 3-1 to Malaga at Estadio La Rosaleda. The three teams above them — Sporting Gijon, Getafe and Rayo Vallecano —all have 35 points to their name. Getafe and Sporting Gijon will meet at the Coliseum Alfonso Perez this weekend in a relegation six-pointer. The best news for this week in La Liga came for Villarreal. Their win, coupled with Athletic Bilbao beating Celta Vigo, means the Yellow Submarine have officially secured fourth spot and UEFA Champions League qualification. Athletic can catch them on points, but Villarreal have the better head-to-head record, so fourth is theirs already.
With two rounds remaining, it's all to play for in La Liga!
SUNDAY 8 MAY
Barcelona 1/33 | Draw 14/1 | Espanyol 43/1
Barcelona scored two second-half goals to defeat 10-man Real Betis 2-0 last weekend and move closer to winning the La Liga title. Barcelona's dip in form already seems like a distant memory having claimed maximum points - and scored 16 goals - in their last three games without conceding. Victories against Espanyol and Granada in the final two rounds will secure their second consecutive title. First up is a home clash with Catalan rivals Espanyol, who are 15th having failed to win in their last five La Liga games. Luis Enrique’s side are unbeaten against Espanyol in their last 15 meetings with 12 wins. Take Barcelona to Win By Three Or More Goals at 5/10.
Celta Vigo 5/10 | Draw 33/10 | Malaga 52/10
Celta Vigo’s seven-game unbeaten run came to an end as they lost 2-1 away to Athletic Bilbao last Sunday. Fabian Orellana struck first for Celta in the 13th minute, but two rash fouls by defender Gustavo Cabral in a span of four minutes swung the match in Bilbao's favour. The defeat was a blow for Celta, who now face a fight to hold on to sixth place in the table with two games of the season to go, including a final-day trip to title-chasing Atletico Madrid. Eduardo Berizzo’s side will be targeting maximum points against Malaga, who have won just once in six La Liga matches. However, Javi Gracia’s side have won three of their last five meetings against Celta. Their last four meetings have produced Under 2.5 Goals. Follow the trend at 11/10.
Eibar 12/10 | Draw 5/2 | Real Betis 21/10
Eibar suffered a 2-0 defeat away to relegation-threatened Sporting Gijon last Friday which extended their winless run to three matches. In those games, they’ve let in seven goals while finding the net just once. Jose Luis Mendilibar’s side have won just once in their last 12 matches, losing eight times. Real Betis suffered a 2-0 loss at home to Barcelona, their second straight defeat. Juan Merino’s side have lost five of their last eight matches with two wins against Levante and Las Palmas – both coming at home. A tight affair is expected and the sides are tipped to share the spoils at 5/2.
Getafe 12/10 | Draw 24/10 | Sporting Gijon 22/10
Getafe lifted their hopes of avoiding relegation as Pedro Leon and Carlos Vigaray scored in either half to beat 10-man Deportivo La Coruna 2-0 last Sunday. Juan Esnaider has had a massive impact since arriving last month and it’s clear the club have played better while under his tutelage. Getafe are unbeaten in three matches with two wins and will look to claim maximum points against Sporting Gijon. Abelardo Fernandez’s side are winless in their last six travels with three defeats. Getafe have won their last two league meetings against Gijon and are tipped for victory at 12/10.
Las Palmas 31/10 | Draw 11/4 | Athletic Bilbao 17/20
Las Palmas come off a 3-2 defeat away to relegation-threatened Granada. The Canary Islands side were two goals up thanks to a brace from Jonathan Viera, but a lack of concentration and a few errors made them pay. Quique Setien will be hoping for an improved performance against Athletic Bilbao this weekend. Las Palmas are unbeaten in three home games with two wins, scoring seven goals while conceding twice. Aritz Aduriz and Raul Garcia led Bilbao's 2-1 fightback over 10-man Celta Vigo, leapfrogging them in the standings. Ernesto Valverde’s men have won three of their last five away games with one defeat against Espanyol in March. These sides have drawn three of their five meetings and are tipped to cancel each other out.
Levante 77/10 | Draw 37/10 | Atletico Madrid 7/20
Antoine Griezmann scored the winner as Atletico Madrid beat Rayo Vallecano 1-0 to stay in the La Liga title race with two games left. That was Atletico’s sixth successive league win and their fourth 1-0 victory in a row in all competitions. Diego Simeone's men have won 10 of their last 11 La Liga games and have kept 23 clean sheets in the league this season. Colchoneros are arguably the most organised and compact side in Europe, highlighted by their remarkable defensive record, but that quality also applies to the midfield and wide positions. Simeone sets his team up in such a way that smothers their opponents while allowing the likes of Griezmann and Fernando Torres to flourish in attack. Atletico head into every match fearless and they should prevail against relegated Levante. Colchoneros are tipped to Win To Nil at 15/20.
Real Madrid 1/5 | Draw 62/10 | Valencia 10/1
Gareth Bale came to the rescue for a Real Madrid team missing both Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema, and who simply could not find a way past a stubborn Real Sociedad until the 80th minute. It was then that the Welshman’s header finally won them three points to keep their title hopes alive. Since defeat in the Madrid derby in late February, Los Blancos have won 10 league games in a row, scoring 34 goals in the process. That run has brought Zinedine Zidane's men right back into the hunt. Valencia come into the clash off a 2-0 defeat at home to Villarreal. Los Che have lost three of their last five away games with just one victory. However, that win came against Barcelona, showing they can raise their game against big teams. Take Real Madrid to Win + Both Teams To Score at 9/10.
Real Sociedad 22/10 | Draw 26/10 | Rayo Vallecano 11/10
Real Sociedad saw their winless run extend to four matches when they lost 1-0 to Real Madrid last weekend. In those games, they’ve lost three times – two of those defeats coming on home soil. They’ve failed to find the net in each of their last two games which is a huge concern for Eusebio Sacristan’s side. Rayo Vallecano are winless in three matches with back-to-back losses against Real and Atletico Madrid. Paco Jemez’s side are without a win in 16 travels which does not bode well for their chances. Back the draw at 26/10.
Sevilla 14/10 | Draw 5/2 | Granada 18/10
Top five last season, UEFA Europa League winners the past two campaigns and in the semi-final of that competition again this season—everything looks pretty good for Sevilla by those standards. However, Unai Emery’s side have failed to win on the road this season after 18 attempts following their 1-0 defeat at struggling Espanyol last weekend. Los Rojiblancos will be happy to return to the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan where they’ve won 14 of their 18 games. Granada climbed out of the relegation zone with a spirited fightback to win 3-2 against Las Palmas in a hugely entertaining encounter at the Estadio Nuevo Los Carmenes. However, El Grana are winless in their last four travels with three defeats, including two on the bounce. The home win is a top bet at 14/10.
Villarreal 5/4 | Draw 23/10 | Deportivo La Coruna 9/4
Villarreal have secured qualification for next season's Champions League after a 2-0 victory at Valencia last Sunday. First-half strikes from Samuel Garcia and Adrian Lopez at the Mestalla left Villarreal six points clear of Athletic Bilbao with two games left to play. However, Villarreal's superior head-to-head record against Bilbao means they cannot now be caught in fourth. The Yellow Submarine are unbeaten in three games with two wins, including a 1-0 victory over Liverpool in the Europa League. Deportivo La Coruna are on a six-game winless run and are yet to win on the road this year. The home win is tipped confidently at 5/4.